I am a city mouse; there is no getting around it. Not for me getting up in the predawn hours to drive for hours out to country vistas waiting for the perfect sunrise. No. My milieu is the city. I live uptown and love it here. I walk just about everywhere I go. I encounter interesting characters almost daily and the bustle of rush hour makes my heart flutter just a little. When I leave the city, upon returning, the moment I see the city skyline in the distance my heart races just a little with the feeling one gets when they know they will soon see an old love once again.
Calgary is not a big city although it suffers a bit from urban sprawl. It sits nicely on the prairies, where the Bow River runs through it. The CPR railway also runs through the downtown core. This is a vibrant, wealthy city, that was built on a ‚“can do‚ pioneer spirit.
Calgary‚„s many skyscrapers afford some wonderful skyline photography. Because the city core runs east to west along the core, some really wonderful late day photos can be had from the western side of downtown facing east. The glass towers literally glow pink and gold. The downtown core itself is located near the riverbed in a bit of a valley, which makes for some awesome vantage points both at river level and from higher vantage points.
When photographing the city, I walk everywhere. It is not really much different than landscape photography in that respect. To see, really see what you are looking at, you have to slow down. I try to photograph the city in a way that shows off its beauty but at the same time, shows it in a way that the common commuter may not notice in their race to get downtown. Look up. Did you notice the classic art deco styling on that old building? ‚Did you see those gargoyles way high up on another?
Calgary is blessed in that the downtown core is vibrant and alive. There is an active arts community and there is much public and private funded art. The photo above shows a portion of a large sculpture that graces the sidewalk in front of one of the ‚“Oil Towers‚ downtown. It looks like a stylized dinosaur skeleton, which makes sense as all the oil reserves come from ‚“dinosaur bones‚ so to speak. Although the owners of the sculpture may not like my use of it to frame a skyscraper other than their own, when I saw the photo, the title came immediately to mind. ‚“This City was Built On Dinosaur Bones.‚
Jacqueline A. Sheen is a photographer living in Calgary Alberta, Canada. You can check out more of her work at www.jasphoto.ca and she also goes by the handle JAS_Photo on our photography forum.